Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97(1) , 269-81 (Jan 2013)
Microbial production of fats and oils is being developed as a means of converting biomass to biofuels. Here we investigate enhancing expression of enzymes involved in the production of fatty acids and triglycerides as a means to increase production of these compounds in Aspergillus oryzae. Examination of the A. oryzae genome demonstrates that it contains two fatty acid synthases and several other genes that are predicted to be part of this biosynthetic pathway. We enhanced the expression of fatty acid synthesis-related genes by replacing their promoters with the promoter from the constitutively highly expressed gene tef1. We demonstrate that by simply increasing the expression of the fatty acid synthase genes we successfully increased the production of fatty acids and triglycerides by more than two-fold. Enhancement of expression of the fatty acid pathway genes ATP-citrate lyase and palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase increased productivity to a lesser extent. Increasing expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase caused no detectable change in fatty acid levels. Increases in message level for each gene were monitored using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Our data demonstrate that a simple increase in the abundance of fatty acid synthase genes can increase the detectable amount of fatty acids.